It didn’t take long for Josh Gordon to catch the eye of one of the league’s top defensive backs.
Casey Hayward drew the assignment of covering the Browns wideout in a 19-10 Los Angeles win over Cleveland on Sunday. In his first game in three years, the back-from-suspension Gordon hauled in four catches for 85 yards and earned Hayward’s respect in the process.
“I think Josh Gordon has been my toughest matchup all year besides OBJ,” Hayward told Sirius, per Cleveland.com, while referencing Giants Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr. “I’m thankful I only have to line up against [Chargers receiver] Keenan Allen in practice.”
Gordon got the best of Hayward on a catch down the sideline that showed off the wideout’s speed and next-level hand strength, as he leapt up to make a 28-yard grab from Browns passer DeShone Kizer on Cleveland’s lone touchdown drive.
“It was a third-and-1, so I tried to play the sticks,” Hayward said. “I jammed him really good and got my hands on him [at the line of scrimmage], but the quarterback put a good ball out there, and it was a good catch.”
Gordon acknowledged he was winded at times after playing 48 of 63 offensive snaps in his first game back, but another week of practice should help as he and the Browns prepare to host Green Bay on Sunday.
“Impressive,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “I know I’m stating the obvious. For someone that’s missed significant time playing on Sundays, it’s a real credit to [Gordon’s] personal training and really [coach] Hue [Jackson] and the football team’s ability to get him ready. He definitely jumps off the video.”